May 16th, 2006

Tuesday, May 16 th, 2006

Hello our dear support team,

ImageYou’re so concerned, so supportive to us, we can’t just make short explanations. At the beginning, we were either mentioning not-so-good stages shortly or not telling them at all, in order not to make the families anxious. But the Everest project’s dimensions has grown into a situation in which the families have to go deeper, harder in their support. Especially we need forcing of the limits of patience of close friends and relatives. Because there’s a lot of rightful curiousity that needs to be ceased.

As you all were following closely, our peak attempt started with our departure from the advanced base camp to the 7000 meter camp. After that, our plan was to reach the 7900 meter camp, but because of the weather that plan delayed one day. In the meantime, Suna’s, Mustafa’s and Meltem’s sickness in their upper respiratory system increased due to the altitude, it was decided that they should go back before they have more serious problems. With the break of the weather, the rest of the team reached the 7900 meter camp. One day later, they left for the camp at 8300 meters.

On the climbing day:

The starting camp for the peak is at 8300 meters. However this isn’t a real camp. We arrived there around 16:00 and left for the peak climb at 22:00. After this stage everyone climbed at their own speed, but we moved as a big team together with the Sherpas. The 2 people at the very end were Bora and Serhan, as planned. Nobody was behind them.

Elif, Soner, Burçak, Haldun and Serkan climbed with oxygen support, Bora and Serhan climbed without oxygen support, but in case of an emergency there was oxygen supplies for Serhan and Bora.

The first hours of the climb were fast and good. The order of the climb was Elif, Soner, Serkan, Haldun, Burçak, Bora and Serhan. 5 Sherpas were climbing inbetween carrying the spare oxygen supplies. And 4 Sherpas were carrying our safety supplies at the very end. Around 3 o’clock there were agitated talks on the Sherpas’ walkie-talkies. As Bora and Serhan could only move slowly and as they were moving together with the Sherpas at the back, they learned what happened. Burçak, fainted at the difficult pass ‘Second Step’ at 8600 meters, probably because of tiredness,  fatigue, lack of sleep, and the variability of the oxygen rate. Serkan who had passed the ‘Second Step’ curve didn’t realize what happened. As Lakpa Sherpa and the other Sherpas were doing the first aid, Bora and Serhan arrived at the place of event. It took 2 hours. Finally she managed to get up and could walk with support. As she recovered quickly, nothing was said to the team at the top until they reached the summit. The team at the top arrived at the summit with the order of Elif, Soner, Haldun and Serkan. Burçak was descended to the advanced base camp at 6400 meters by Bora, Serhan, Furuwa and Dawa Sherpas on the same day. This is where there’s a doctor. Presently, nobody has a serious illness , only dripping noses and aching throats.

As dear Uğur Uluocak emphasized it, mountaineering is the sport of controling risks. We are doing the evaluation of our small accident as taking an important risk under control.

Now our team is at ease. We are done with an important part of our priorities. We won’t turn back to our country empty handed. Yet we still have time and we have unfinished plans. One of this is the whole team making the summit, and the other is to reach the summit without oxygen supply. During the 15 days left, the team will first rest, and then will get on the way for another attempt.

May 15th, 2006

Advanced Base Camp, 22:00

Team members at Camp 1 will continue their descend tomorrow. Good night everyone!

Advanced Base Camp, 19:00

Almost done. Burçak, Elif, Serhan and Soner are back at the advanced base camp. They are very tired and after taking some fluid went to their tents to sleep. I think they need to sleep two days in order to recover :) Serkan, Haldun and Bora are currently resting at Camp 1 (North Col) and rehydrating. They are also planning to return back to advanced base camp tonight.

Advanced Base Camp, 12:45
I’m writing this especially for the ones who are waiting curiously. Our team reached the summit. Elif has become the first Turkish woman to climb Mount Everest. Serkan, Soner and Haldun are the other team members that made the peak. But I’m writing this cautisously. Because what is important isn’t making to the summit but returning safely and our friends are yet on their way back. I’ll share my happines with you when they are back on safe altitudes, namely Camp 2 if possible to Camp 1. Burçak, Serhan and Bora had to turn back probably at around 8500-8600 meters because the conditions got tough, and Burçak didn’t feel well and she couldn’t continue. Currently, Elif, Serhan, Bora and Burçak are resting at Camp 3 and they will continue their descend. Soner, Haldun and Serkan are on the way to Camp 3. They will also continue their descend after resting at Camp 3. The weather is presently clear and there’s no wind. It’s 12:45. See you again today.

Hakan Kocakulak 

May 14th, 2006

Advanced Base Camp

The weather broke today as expected, however it started to snow and get cloudy again in the afternoon. However the team still reached up to camp 3, to 8300 meters. Burçak and Elif have already raised the bar of the highest point ever reached by Turkish women –which they themselves set before-to a higher level. The team is resting at camp 3 and will depart for the summit at 22:00, tonight. The times I give you are all according to the Nepal time. We are here, 2 hour and 45 minutes ahead of Turkey. The time is 19:45 in Turkey, when it is 22:00 in here.

We would like to wish our mothers, who are looking forward to see us, and all mothers, a happy mother’s day and kiss their hands, as the team.

Hakan Kocakulak

May 13th, 2006
Advanced Base Camp
Hi to everybody,

ImageToday, it snowed all the day. This is a state we prefer to the wind. The team has reached to 7800 meters, to camp 2. Meltem decided to return from the altitude of 7500 meters because of her cough getting worse because of the dry and the cold air. The cough was not letting her to take the oxygen from the air. I went to up to where the fixed lines are to accompany her, but she already had found someone to accompany her. She was coming with her female Indian friend. The solidarity of women… At a place, like the Everest, where women sportsmen are very few. She was a very nice person; she insisted to invite us to her doctor. I guess we gained another friend at the mountain. I had already arranged the Chinese doctor for Meltem. But we could not break the heart of Meltem’s Indian friend and went to their camp. The diagnosis was, for sure, the upper respiratory system infection. The doctor gave us medicines which had Indian writings on and we returned to our camp. I invited them for lunch tomorrow, but I think they will come only for tea, they are very kind…

Even the doctor said that she can be treated here and doesn’t have to go down; I am planning to send Meltem to where Mustafa and Suna are, in the accompaniment of a Sherpa tomorrow. She can get better more quickly over there and come back to here. Because, you cannot totally get well here.

I talked to Mustafa and Suna tonight. They have arrived to Shegar and they are resting.

The weather is overcast now; however the weather report says that there will be a break in the weather tomorrow. I hope the weather report would turn out to be right and there would be a clear weather without the wind…

Hakan Kocakulak

May 12th, 2006

Advanced Base Camp
Hi to everybody,

I know that you are in curiosity. But the Chomolungma did not give permission to the teams today. Its top kept swaying in the wind. Our team, as the other teams, had to return after ascending a few hundred meters at the North Col. Now they are waiting at the 7100 meters camp at the North Col for tomorrow and for the Chomolungma to give permission. However, the dry air and the cold caused two of our friends, Mustafa and Suna, to have sore throats.  And they, instead of exhausting themselves, descended back to the advanced base camp, where I am, to get well soon and try again. Firstly, I took them to the doctor of our Chinese friends. Then we started to antibiotics treatment after contacting with our doctor Betül and our paramedic friend Gürkan. For them to get well quickly, tomorrow, I will firstly send them to the warm atmosphere of the base camp and then to Shigar via vehicle. There is no need to worry, this is a method used by all the teams. I will be observing their condition by the satellite telephone all the time. We all hope that they will recover soon and may it be easy to our friends above.

Hakan Kocakulak

May 11th, 2006
May 11th, 10AM

ImageIt is 10AM according to the Nepal time; we will be setting off soon. This time, we are going for the summit. A few hard days left to meet with the Chomolungma. The time has come and we are ready, the rest is left to its hospitality. We are ten people who are climbing, but we know that, there are thousands of hearts, beating with us. See you soon, goodbye…

May 11th, 5PM

Today, I sent off my friend for the summit. I was more excited then them. I wish Chomolungma would accept my friends. And I would like to ask you to share your positive energies with them on their way of three days to the summit. They will spend this night on their camp at 7100 meters. I learned that they have reached to camp 1 during the conversation I had via walkie-talkie an hour ago. They will depart for camp 2 tomorrow morning at 8AM and will spend the night at the camp 2, around 7800-7900 meters.
Hakan Kocakulak

PS: Regarding Dear Fikret Ünlü’s sensitive message; we would like to add our strength to the “mountaineer” Dear Erdal İnönü’s strength and our resolution to his resolution, in his fight with his illness.

May 10th, 2006
Advanced Base Camp
ImageIt was the ends of the February, our friend Ebru, the Corporate Relations Manager of Petrol Ofisi, introduced us to Jan Nahum. We explained him our Everest project. Our astonishment was getting greater gradually as our conversation continued. Jan Nahum’s interest in mountaineering, his knowledge about the Everest climbs and the most important of all, his enthusiastic attitude –at least as much as our enthusiasm- towards our project impressed us a lot. With a fast and harmonious way of working, we became a big team in a very short period of time. We did not have any difficulties in building up a common discourse with Petrol Ofisi and made a list of goals. Now, when we look back, at this point, May 10, 2006, at 6400 meters, we see that we have achieved most of these goals.

We said,

The departure of a team from Turkey to the highest point of the world is a success. We did succeed to depart at the 27th of March with a climbing team of 10 people, a camp manager and a person responsible for the documentary film by completing all the feverish preparations.

The expeditions named by the country name are very prestigious at the Everest base camps since more than a century. Since the April, we both made very good friends and did become a team to be heeded and followed with our presence and the relationships we built at the base and the advanced base camps. We made the name of the Everest Team of Turkey known among tens of other teams.

To climb up to the highest mountain of the world needs both good physical and mental performance. We said that we came as a team and will climb as a team and whatever the result is, we will return as a team. We did not give up our word up to this point and did succeed to be a strong and devoted Turkish Team in the eyes of other climbers and Sherpas.

Beyond all these, we have said; the priority in our goals is to have one person to reach to the summit in a safe mode, after that, to have a woman to reach to the summit and lastly, to have at least a person to reach to the summit without the oxygen support.

Not much left; what do you say?

May 9th, 2006
Advanced Base Camp
ImageWe returned to 6400 meters two days ago. This time, we saw the difficulties of the climb almost in all aspects. The way from the camp at 7000 meters up to the camp at 7900 meters requires a very backbreaking climb. Long and steep snow couloir and the decreasing amount of oxygen available to human body in every step, is straining the body. Shortly, we fully understood that we are climbing to the highest point of the world once more. Three of us have reached to the camp at 7900 meters, and the most of the rest have reached to 7500 meters. After we concluded our climb, we returned to 7000 meters, stayed there a night and returned back to the advanced base camp the next day.

ImageWe will spend the next few days by resting and observing the weather conditions. When we and the weather will be ready, the conditions will be ready to try for the summit. The route and the camps at the high altitudes are ready. In other words, the fixed rope lines are reached up to the summit, the tents are put at the camping sites and the oxygen bottles are assembled at the 8300 meters. When the team and the weather is ready, our plan shortly is; firstly, to reach up to the North Col at 7000 meters, then the next day to climb up to the camp at 7900 meters and the next day to reach up to 8300 meters. We are thinking that we will need oxygen support from then on. For this reason we will start using oxygen support from the hours we will spend at the 8300 camp. The ones who will try the summit without the oxygen support will be determined by then. As we have repeated a several times before, the main issue in this decision will be the safety of all the members of the team. If the decision to climb without the oxygen support appears in a way to risk the climb of the rest, our priority will be to reach the summit in a safe way. After spending a few hours at the 8300 meters, we will depart for the summit at midnight.

All these really mean a few tough days. We have to rest very well, eat very well, and concentrate mentally very well. We have already taken some support from the Chinese team today. We were invited for the lunch to the Chinese camp. We had some good food and chat. We are solving the resting part in our tents. As for the real part, we mean the mental preparation; we will need your support at that point…

May 7th, 2006

ImageOn May 6th, the team climbed up to North Col, and spent the night there. Their backpacks were rather heavy since they were carrying, but haven't used,  oxygen bottles. Today, May 7th, they went to Camp 2 and then returned back to North Col  to sleep. Tomorrow, they will return back to advanced base camp. We are constantly in radio contact and everyone is in great condition.

Hakan Kocakulak

May 5th, 2006
Advanced Base Camp
ImageWe came to our higher altitudes back again… The happy days at the lower altitudes did not last long. We again started to deal with the climbing plans, the breathing techniques and the amount of liquid to take. This time the plans are a little more tensing. From now on, all the plans are towards the summit! There are many things that we have to consider. Once again the oxygen bottles, that were are not very familiar with, are in.  All the bottles are carried to the advanced base camp; now, they have to be carried to upper camps gradually. We all tried our facemasks and the regulators before the bottles are taken to the upper camps. Connecting and removing the regulators to the bottles is a troublesome task, it has to be learned very well. And also we have to be good at fitting the facemasks to our faces. It is a little hard to fit the balaclava, the facemask and the oxygen facemask all on a single face! The climbing and the upper camp usage plans also have to be settled very well other than the oxygen usage and the calculations. We will have upper camps at the 7900 and 8300 meters. The sites for the tents at these altitudes are cramped; therefore we will be closely pressed together on those nights. As for the climbing programme, we will all be climbing on the same day, but still we will be moving in pairs of two. This also has to be planned. Today we will have one or two meetings for discussing all these.

By the way, we started to be followed by the camera on our back also at the advanced base camp finally! Mustafa Temiztaş has come to 6400 meters with us. Most probably, he is the cameraman who climbed to the highest altitude from Turkey, by the time yesterday!

Tonight, we will organise a collective birthday party in order to celebrate Mustafa Temiztaş’s (May 3rd), Soner’s (May 5th) and Mustafa Cihan’s (May 8th) birthdays. But please do not tell them, cause it will be a surprise for them!!

PS: Muharrem Ertunç, all the team members are saying hello to you and to your students, please give them our regards!!

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